HKU POP SITE releases the latest results on people's satisfaction with the freedom of press, their appraisal of the credibility of the news media, and the annual survey on the June Fourth IncidentBack

Press Release on June 4 , 2002

The Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong today releases on schedule via the "HKU POP SITE" ( the latest results on people's satisfaction with the freedom of press, their appraisal of the credibility of the news media, as well as our annual survey on the June Fourth Incident. Our normal practice is to release the results of our regular surveys every Tuesday normally at 2 pm via our POP Site, except during public holidays, each time with a forecast of the items to be released in the next two weeks. The POP Site will review and adjust this operation regularly.


According to this schedule, the date and time of our next release will be June 11, 2002, at 2 pm; the latest ratings of CE Tung Chee-hwa and the most well-known political groups will be released. Then, on June 18, 2002, at 2 pm, we will release the latest results of people's appraisal of the HKSAR Government, their most concerned problems and their satisfaction with the current political, economic and social conditions.


According to the latest figures released today, regarding people's satisfaction with the freedom of the press in Hong Kong in mid-May (May 14-16), 58% of the respondents were satisfied, 16% were not, 21% said "half-half". Compared to the results obtained in early February, the satisfaction figure has dropped significantly by ten percentage points, while the dissatisfaction figure has increased by four percentage points. This may well be caused by the handcuffing of reporters by the police some time ago. As for the latest credibility rating of the news media in general, on the scale of 0-10, the latest figure obtained in mid-May was 6.01 marks, an increase of 0.25 marks when compared to that recorded in early February.


As regards June Fourth, 38% believed that the Beijing students did the right thing, 19% said no, while 43% did not give any definite answer. On the other hand, 14% said the Chinese Government did the right thing, 53% said no, while 33% did not give a definite answer. Besides, 39% of the respondents supported a reversion of the official stand on the incident, 27% did not, 34% opted for "hard to say". Compared with last year's figures, no significant change was detected. On the macro level, the percentages of those who supported the Beijing students and denounced the Chinese Government have dropped by more than twenty percentage points since 1993.


Results also showed that 74% of the respondents believed the human right condition in China has improved when compared with that in 1989, a significant increase of nine percentage points compared with the figure registered last year. Another 13% said the condition has remained unchanged, while 4% said it has become worse. Moreover, 65% thought that the human right condition in China would be better in three year's time, 3% thought it would be worse. Compared with that figures recorded last year, the former has increased by seven percentage points, while the latter has dropped by two percentage points.


Furthermore, 68% of the respondents believed that Hong Kong people have a responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China, a drop of four percentage points from last year. Another 15% said no. Regarding economic development in China, 72% said Hong Kong people have a responsibility to instigate it, a drop of seven percentage points from last year, 12% said no. When asked to prioritise these two items of development, 39% said Hong Kong people should put more effort on instigating the economic development of China, 17% said more effort should be put on democratic development, 29% said both. On the other front, 47% believed China should emphasize more on her economic development, 16% opted for democratic development, while 26% said both items were equally important. Compared with last year's figures, the percentage of those who considered economic development to be the main agenda for China's development has dropped by more than ten percentage points.


As regards the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China ("the Alliance"), 18% of the respondents said the Alliance should be disbanded, an increase of four percentage points compared with that of last year. Another 40% said no, while 43% did not give any definite answer. The latest popularity rating of the Alliance registered in mid-May was 47.9 marks, a slight but statistically not significant increase of 1.7 marks when compared with that of last year.


The new survey reported in the POP Site today is a random telephone survey conducted by interviewers, targeting at Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong of age 18 or above. The sample size of the survey is over 1,000 respondents. At 95% confidence level, the sampling errors of the ratings of the credibility of the news media and that of the Alliance are plus/minus 0.12 marks and 1.8 marks respectively, while that of all percentages is less than plus/minus 3 percentage points. That means if we were to repeat a certain survey 100 times, using the same questions each time but with different random samples, we would expect 95 times getting a figure within the error margins specified. Shall anyone have any question regarding the research design of the surveys published in the POP Site, members of the POP Team will be happy to answer them, but we will not comment on the findings at this stage. Such an arrangement would be reviewed when more resources are available. Please note that Dr CHUNG Ting-yiu Robert, Director of Public Opinion Programme, is solely responsible for the work published in the POP Site, which does not represent the stand of the University of Hong Kong.